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Neutrophils May Play Role in Oral Cancer Prognosis

Neutrophils May Play Role in Oral Cancer Prognosis Neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, may promote the invasiveness of cancers, including oral cancer. Researchers from the University of Toronto made this discovery when analyzing the effects of neutrophils in

Neutrophils May Play Role in Oral Cancer Prognosis

Neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, may promote the invasiveness of cancers, including oral cancer. Researchers from the University of Toronto made this discovery when analyzing the effects of neutrophils in the invasion of oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC) using a combination of cultures and an OSCC cell line. They found that neutrophils increased the invasiveness of OSCC, indicating paracrine activation between the cells. This communication creates an abnormal immune response that fosters an environment hospitable to oral cancer. Cancer Immunology Research published a full report titled “Neutrophils Increase Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Invasion Through an Invadopodia-Dependent Pathway” in June.

Marco Magalhaes, DDS, MSc, PhD, the study’s lead researcher and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, explains that “a unique inflammatory response [exists] with oral cancers because the oral cavity is quite unique in the body.” Neutrophils, he added, are commonly found in the oral cavity and within saliva—though research on their relation to oral cancer has been limited. Immune cells, including neutrophils, excrete molecules such as tumor necrosis factor, which regulates how the body responds to inflammation. Cancer cells, the researchers noted, secrete interleukin-8—an inflammatory mediator—which actives neutrophils. This enacts a so-called feedback loop between neutrophils and cancer cells, resulting in increased invasiveness and metastasis of cancer. 

Improved understanding of such immunological reactions, Magalhaes says, will enable researchers to focus on creating a response that will halt cancer cells vs enable them to multiply. In addition to studying methods that will interrupt this immune response, the research team is exploring the relationship between inflammation and oral cancer.

Hygiene Connection E-Newsletter

September 2015

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